Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bible Comment on Ezekiel 43 with poem by Cleanthes of Assos, The Hymn of Cleanthes: Glory Fills

Daily Readings
Wisdom of Solomon 4:1-19, I Samuel 13, Ezekiel 43, Romans 1

Daily Text: Ezekiel 43

Glory Fills
In Ezekiel 10:18-22 the Lord left the temple by the East gate, presaging destruction. Ezekiel 43 sees him returning to the new envisioned temple by the East gate. His spirit fills the temple. This is a major change for no longer is there ‘furniture’ for the Holy of Holies. “Confessedly, the real elements of Temple-glory no longer existed. The Holy of Holies was quite empty, the ark of the covenant, with the cherubim, the tables of the law, the book of the covenant, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the pot of manna, were no longer in the sanctuary. The fire that had descended from heaven upon the altar was extinct. What was far more solemn, the visible presence of God in the Shechinah was wanting. Nor could the will of God be now ascertained through the Urim and Thummim, nor even the high-priest be anointed with the holy oil, its very composition being unknown” [Edersheim 510:37]. But the Lord himself has taken up residence, according to Ezekiel’s vision in the new temple, and not only in the Holy of Holies. His glory fills the temple. This God is not restricted to a temple characterized by symbols. YHWH is a God who intends to confront and be experienced by his people. Nothing will stand in the way of that. In fact, with the new temple the entire enclosure is marked off as sacred unlike the first temple. Step inside the walls and know the awe and the glory of God.

The Hymn of Cleanthes
Sometimes called “Hymn to Zeus”
Cleanthes of Assos
331?-232 B.C.
tr. from the Greek by James Adam

O God most glorious, called by many a name,
Nature’s great King, through endless years the same….
We are thy children, we alone, of all
On earth’s broad ways that wander to and fro,
Bearing thine image whereso’er we go.
Wherefore with songs of praise thy power I will forth shew,
Lo! yonder Heaven, that round the earth is wheeled,
Follows thy guidance, still to thee doth yield
Glad homage; thine unconquerable hand
Such flaming minister, the levin-brand,
Wieldeth, a sword two-edged, whose deathless might
Pulsates through all that Nature brings to light;
Vehicle of the universal Word, that flows
Through all, and in the light celestial glows
Of stars both great and small. O King of Kings
Through ceaseless ages, God, whose purpose brings
To birth, whate’er on land or in the sea
Is wrought, or in high heaven’s immensity….
Chaos to thee is order: in thine eyes
The unloved is lovely, who didst harmonize
Things evil with things good, that there should be
One Word through all things everlastingly….
Zeus the all-bountiful, whom darkness shrouds,
Whose lightning lightens in the thunder-clouds;
Thy children save from error’s deadly sway:
Turn thou the darkness from their souls away:
Vouchsafe that unto knowledge they attain;
For thou by knowledge art made strong to reign
O’er all, and all things rulest righteously.
So by thee honoured, we will honour thee,
Praising thy works continually with songs,
As mortals should; nor higher meed belongs
E’en to the gods, than justly to adore
The universal law for evermore.

Collect for the Day
We praise thee, O God, for thy glory displayed in all the creatures of the earth,
In the snow, in the rain, in the wind, in the storm; in all of thy creatures,
both the hunters and the hunted.
For all things exist only as seen by thee, only as known by thee, all things exist
Only in thy light, and thy glory is declared even in that which denies thee;
the darkness declares the glory of light.
Those who deny thee could not deny, if thou didst not exist; and their denial is ne er complete, for if it were so, they would not exist.
They affirm thee in living; all things affirm thee in living; the bird in the air, both the hawk and the finch; the beast on the earth, both the wolf and the lamb; the worm in the soil and the worm in the belly. T. S. Eliot [489:141:July 27]


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